One of the last big events to take place at Disneyland Resort in 2020 before it had to close due to the global pandemic was the Celebrate Gospel event. As the name implies, it was a celebration of gospel music that takes place during Black History Month in February. While the event did not take place in 2021 due to Disneyland still being closed, the party is back on starting tomorrow, February 1, but Celebrate Gospel will be undergoing a big change this year as the live concerts will take place from Disneyland park itself.
Previous Celebrate Gospel concerts took place at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure but this year the concerts, headlined by Kierra Sheard along with Sacred Groove, who will perform on February. 19 and Grammy-award winners Jonathan McReynolds and Mali Music, along with The Singers of Soul who will perform on February 26, will take place at Disneyland’s Fantasyland Theater. Southern California community choirs will also be performing on both weekends.
The exact reason for the change is unclear, it may simply be the fact that the Fantasyland Theater is an outdoor venue while the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure is indoors. Whatever the reason, it’s essentially a promotion for the concerts, as Disneyland Park is significantly more popular with guests, so a lot more people will have a chance to watch these shows. Concerts are free to guests with theme park admission.
That’s only the beginning of what is being offered as part of the larger Black History Month events taking place at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, in what the parks are calling Celebrate Soulfully.
Music is a big part of the event, and not just gospel. A variety of jazz, R&B, and pop artists will be performing at Disney Springs at Disney World and Downtown Disney in Anaheim throughout the month. Jazz will also be on the menu in the lobby of the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland Resort. And speaking of menus, the Grand Californian’s Hearthstone Lounge will also include a special menu, full of wines, beer and spirits from Black-owned businesses.
Art displays promoting The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, the new Disney+ series set to debut this month, will also arrive on both coasts, at Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort and Disney Springs at Disney Springs.
Disney Parks have been making a concerted effort to better represent the diversity of the guests in the parks via an initiative called Reimaging Tomorrow. Among the plans involved in that initiative is the upcoming redesign of Splash Mountain that will turn it into a Princess and the Frog themed attraction. We still don’t know when work will begin on that transformation. Black History Month would be a fitting time to at least make an announcement. We’ll have to wait and see if that happens.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.